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The Hotel Store Kro was, and still is, used to host royal gatherings.
The Hotel Store Kro was, and still is, used to host royal gatherings. (Tim McDonald/WorldGolf.com)

Up close with Danish royalty: Stay at Hotel Store Kro in Fredensborg, Denmark

Tim McDonaldBy Tim McDonald,

FREDENSBORG, Denmark - If you're on a golf trip in Denmark and want to get close to royalty, you could do worse than the Hotel Store Kro.

Store Kro is right down the street from the Fredensborg Castle, the "Castle of Peace" in memory of the end of the Great Nordic War in 1720. The inn is so close to the castle, you could hit a five-iron and knock the big, fluffy hat off one of the royal guards patrolling the royal grounds. They hold the changing of the guards every day at noon.

The hotel was originally called "The King's Inn," built in 1723 to accommodate the overflow of guests at the castle. The royal history around these parts has all the drama you'd want, including the scandalous tale of young Anna Sophie Reventlow, who caught the glad-eye of King Frederik IV, who was known to like the ladies.

Her mother locked her up for a year after their first "date," but she escaped and married the king, becoming his second wife. They paid the price for this, though, with the public and other royalty making "tsk-tsk" noises. After the king's death, poor Sophie was banished and given only a pathetically small staff of 66 to care for her needs.

The inn has all sorts of antiques, paintings of the king and Sophie, and a restaurant called the Anna Sophie.

If you're lucky, you can get a glimpse of the current royal residents, Crown Prince Frederick and Crown Princess Mary, who live in the Chancellory House on the castle grounds. Frederick is the heir apparent to the throne of Denmark, where he will become King Frederick X, and as a descendant of Queen Victoria, he's no. 216 in the line for succession to the British Throne.

Hey, it could happen.

He's the elder son of Queen Margrethe II and her husband Prince Consort Henrik, with all sorts of princes, barons, counts, queens and Grand Duchesses for godparents. The prince studied at Harvard and served time in the military, including service in the naval elite special operations forces.

It might interest you to know his frogman nickname is "Pingo," though you probably wouldn't want to holler that out should you see him strolling the royal grounds.

Mary comes from a different background.

She's a former Australian marketing consultant - her parents moved there from Scotland - who met the future king at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. They started a surreptitious relationship until finally receiving the Queen's blessing to get married in 2004.

She went to grade school in Clear Lake, Texas, and once worked for Microsoft in Denmark. The Danish Parliament passed a special law giving Mary Danish citizenship - called "Mary's Law" - and she signed an "agreement" never made public. Possibly the toughest thing about being Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark was learning to speak Danish.

Don't fret if you can't see the Prince out mowing the lawn in his boxers. The inn is close to a number of other attractions, including Copenhagen, Hamlet's castle in Elsinore, Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The inn is also a short walk away from a small, pedestrian-only shopping area with little Danish shops selling a variety of goods. Just head to the castle, stop short and take a right.

The inn doesn't look that different from when it hosted royal guests - it has 49 rooms and suites, and all of them are individually decorated. They have all the modern amenities.

The restaurant is excellent, serving French/Danish food. It still hosts royal parties and celebrations.

In addition to the restaurant, why not eat in the terrace room overlooking the garden in the warmer months, where you can have a lunch involving herring, capers and celery cream or smoked salmon on an open-potato sandwich? Perhaps carpaccio of beef with summer truffles and roasted almonds? Washed down, of course, with cognac or brandy.

For more information, see www.storekro.dk.

Golf near Hotel Store Kro

As for the golf, Simon's Golf Club is in nearby Humlebaek, about 20 miles north of Copenhagen, the terminus of the coastal area popularly known as the Whiskey Trail.

Simons is one of the most expensive golf clubs in Denmark, and, consequently, has quite a few wealthy businessmen as members. You have to be a member to play here, as is the case through much of Europe, but don't worry about it if you're an American. You can get on easily, even if you're just, say, King Joe of Des Moines.

Simons was designed by Martin Hawtree and has some very nice facilities: a driving range, three putting greens, a par-3 golf course with six holes, an indoor training center with a golf simulator, a restaurant and a two-story, pub-style bar called the Albatross.

Denmark travel tips

SAS Scandinavian Airlines is the biggest airline in Scandinavia and specializes in non-stop travel from North America and Asia to Stockholm and Copenhagen. The airline serves Copenhagen non-stop from Newark, N.J., Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C., and Stockholm non-strop from Chicago and Newark, with Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft. SAS and its partners offer connecting service to cities throughout Scandinavia, Europe and the world from the SAS hubs at Copenhagen and Stockholm. For more information, see www.flysas.com or call (800) 221-2350.

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.

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